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Short Story Archives > The Complete Shorter Fiction - The O'Conors of Conor Castle

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message 1: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
This story was written in 1859. Trollope took a post in Ireland in 1841 as a postal survey clerk. Shortly thereafter took up fox hunting. This is a comedic story very different from the other story read this week.


message 2: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
Again to get us started, but of course not limited to:

Do you think the occurrences in the story to be possible? Why?


message 3: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
Did this story remind you of early movies?


message 4: by Silver (new)

Silver This was quite an unexpectedly story. I loved the whole misadventure with the shoes and thought the whole episode was quite amusing and delightful. Though I had trouble picturing in my mind what the infamous boots looked like.

While perhaps improbable I certainly think it is possible for such a mishap to occur. That a mistake might be made in the transfer of luggage from one location to another, thus living one without the proper clothing for a particular occasion.

I had the impression that Mr. Green was a bit of a dandy as he often mentions how fine his clothes were, and how good he looked in them, so it is easy to believe he would be so distressed about not having the right shoes to wear to dinner and dancing.

Though it seems as if the easiest thing for him to have done would have been to explain to Jack the mix-up about the shoes from the beginning.

I did wonder at the choice of the ending of the story on the somewhat bittersweet note, which also seemed rather abrupt that Fanny found herself married off to another man.

I wonder if this is Trollope poking fun at the proper etiquette and manners of the day?

He was denied marriage to the girl whom he loved and who seemed to be found of him because a woman could not forgive the unintended offence of him not shaking her hand because he was too embarrassed about the shoes he was wearing.


message 5: by Louise (new)

Louise | 46 comments I was wondering just how the aunt managed to prevent the marriage and why he didn't fight for it? Seemed a very interesting part of the story that was just passed over quickly.


message 6: by Silver (new)

Silver Louise wrote: "I was wondering just how the aunt managed to prevent the marriage and why he didn't fight for it? Seemed a very interesting part of the story that was just passed over quickly."

Yes if they both cared for each other I wondered how the aunt could have prevented it.


message 7: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
I wondered about the likely hood of an upper class man borrowing a servant's shoes. I did enjoy the comedy.


message 8: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 568 comments The story seems to be making a point about how easily we can create unnecessary misery through an excessive focus on the trivial forms of society. And by judging one another without sufficient knowledge of what motivates another person’s behavior.


message 9: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "The story seems to be making a point about how easily we can create unnecessary misery through an excessive focus on the trivial forms of society. And by judging one another without sufficient know..."

Great insight


message 10: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 229 comments Abigail wrote: "The story seems to be making a point about how easily we can create unnecessary misery through an excessive focus on the trivial forms of society. ..."

And yet, we need formality to protect our feelings. I recently saw Formality compared to a veil - we see perfectly well what is beneath it (if we care to look), but it allows us to pretend we have noticed nothing.

The elder Miss O’Connor would easily have found another excuse for her meddling. Anyway, this love affair seems rather contingent (as most probably are). Though I do not think Trollope was thinking of such implications when he was writing this pleasant little comedy.


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Silver wrote: "While perhaps improbable I certainly think it is possible for such a mishap to occur. "

While it might have been possible then, I'm sure today with the sophistication of baggage handling of our airlines it would never happen today. [HAH!]


message 12: by Everyman (last edited Dec 04, 2015 06:43PM) (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Deborah wrote: "I wondered about the likely hood of an upper class man borrowing a servant's shoes. I did enjoy the comedy."

Even when he had no other option?


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments As I read this, I wondered a bit whether it really qualified as a short story, or whether it was more in the line of an anecdote. Not that I'm sure I know the technical difference between them, if there even is one, but it seemed to me a very strange sort of story.


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Abigail wrote: "The story seems to be making a point about how easily we can create unnecessary misery through an excessive focus on the trivial forms of society."

Well, yes, but dress wasn't really trivial in that society, was it? I mean, he was expected to dress for dinner in particular dinner clothes. He could hardly wear his muddy riding boots, which presumably is what he was wearing when he went up to change.


message 15: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
I'm enjoying the Trollope stories, slight though they are. an interesting contrast to the courtship rituals and rules of today!


message 16: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Deborah wrote: "I wondered about the likely hood of an upper class man borrowing a servant's shoes. I did enjoy the comedy."

Even when he had no other option?"


He had other options. He could have gone in socks. He could have told his host. Just to name two.


message 17: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 229 comments Everyman wrote: "As I read this, I wondered a bit whether it really qualified as a short story, or whether it was more in the line of an anecdote. ..."

The earlier (pre-Chekovian?) 19th century short stories (often titled 'sketches') were - I believe - generally anecdotal (or gothic/fantasy, but always light-weight). These old genres seem to be still in good health today, even if literary connoisseurs frown upon them.


message 18: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Deborah wrote: He had other options. He could have gone in socks. He could have told his host. Just to name two. "

And he could have done either in today's world. But in his?


message 19: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Deborah wrote: He had other options. He could have gone in socks. He could have told his host. Just to name two. "

And he could have done either in today's world. But in his?"


If he could wear servants shoes, he could do the other options


message 20: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Deborah wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Deborah wrote: He had other options. He could have gone in socks. He could have told his host. Just to name two. "

And he could have done either in today's world. But in his?"

If he could wear servants shoes, he could do the other options."


Well, obviously he didn't think so!


message 21: by Silver (last edited Dec 06, 2015 10:38PM) (new)

Silver Deborah wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Deborah wrote: He had other options. He could have gone in socks. He could have told his host. Just to name two. "

And he could have done either in today's world. But in his?"

If..."


I am still not certain why he was hesitant to explain his situation to his host, but he did review his various other options in his mind, and from his point of view he decided that wearing the servants shoes would have been the least embarrassing thing he could do.

Of course it didn't quite turn out that way in the end.

But he did seem like someone who cared very much for his dress, and the sort of appearance his made, and so to him wearing the servants pumps was more preferable than being seen in either the wrong kind of shoes for dinner and dancing, or I don't think he would ever contemplate wearing no shoes at all.

And of course as "luck" would have it, he had such unusually large feet that the servant was the only one whom he could possibly borrow shoes from.


message 22: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
I think his pride in dress and his desire to impress specifically that family, closed his mind to other options.


message 23: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Deborah wrote: "I think his pride in dress and his desire to impress specifically that family, closed his mind to other options."

I'm not sure it was really pride, or a desire to impress, as much as it was just to behave in the expected manner of a guest in such a house. Is it pride if a guest at a dinner in the White House wears a suit instead of jeans? Or doesn't want to appear in stocking feet?

In every society, there are expected norms that most people feel embarrassed not to conform to. And of course people who are invited as guests to a house want to be seen as respectable and sufficiently courteous as to behave in what is considered civilized behavior for that situation.

I saw it as more that than any particular point of pride or desire to impress. But that's just the way I read it.


message 24: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Deborah wrote: "I think his pride in dress and his desire to impress specifically that family, closed his mind to other options."

I'm not sure it was really pride, or a desire to impress, as much ..."


He set out to know the O'Conors because they were a social leader. His pride in appearance clearly shown in his choices in the design of the boots. Eman we will have to agree to disagree :)


message 25: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Deborah wrote: "Eman we will have to agree to disagree :) "

Gee, for the first time ever!

:)


message 26: by Lynnm (last edited Dec 12, 2015 07:26AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments I really enjoyed this story.

And I agree with everyone that it is taking on the silliness of the etiquette of the times, which is reinforced at the end of the story.

It's not his fault that the woman at the hotel packed the wrong shoes. It isn't unusual for someone to feel embarrassed about coming clean, especially when there is a member of the opposite sex that you are trying to impress involved.

But, it cost him the girl in the end. It is the elders who enforce these imagined constructs, and woe to those who break the rules.


message 27: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4454 comments Mod
Lynnm wrote: "I really enjoyed this story.

And I agree with everyone that it is taking on the silliness of the etiquette of the times, which is reinforced at the end of the story.

It's not his fault that the w..."


I really enjoyed it too. It was very amusing


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